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City information Bangkok
Bangkok, a short introduction
The city of Bangkok was established in 1782 as the new capital of Thailand by King Rama 1. Bangkok is situated on the flood plain delta of the Chao Praya river. It is the political, commercial, industrial and cultural capital of Thailand. It is also the country's main port. Most Thai call their capital 'Krung Thep'. It's the shortened Thai name, the full name consists of thirty two different words and that makes it the longest city name in the world. Try getting this right when asking directions:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
Bangkok's official population is around seven million but at daytime it might be closer to ten million people. With an estimated four hundred thousand foreign inhabitants and the many tourists the city has an international atmosphere.
If you visit Bangkok for the first time you will see a modern, chaotic and incredible fascinating city. One minute you walk along a quiet Soi (small street) where you can see daily live, street vendors and an occasional rat or two. The next moment you are bumping into a six lane expressway or you will see the sky train high above you transporting commuters and tourist through the city center.
Although the traffic causes pollution it is great to just watch the colorful tuk tuk's with a sound like supercharged lawnmowers going crazy. The incredible number of taxi's, motorbikes and again street vendors pushing their carts through this mess, it will always catch your attention.
There are three distinct seasons in Bangkok and in fact most of Thailand. The cool season is from November to February. In December the average maximum temperature in Bangkok reaches 31.3 degrees celcius. The average rainfall is only 9.7 mm. The minimum in December is a chilly 20.8 degrees celsius.
For sun lovers, the hot season is from March to May. The average maximum temperature in Bangkok in April reaches 34.9 degrees celcius. The minimum at night, still 26.1 degrees celcius. It sounds like perfect weather for beaches and travelling but beware of sunstroke.
The rainy season is from around June to October. The average maximum temperature in September is 32.3 degrees celcius with September being the wettest Month with 344.2 mm. of rainfall. At night between all these rain showers it's still 24.6 degrees celcius. All this information was gathered over a period of 30 years by the Thai Meteorological Department so I guess it's true.
In Bangkok you will find luxury, poverty and anything you desire. Big air-conditioned shopping malls offer the latest fashion clothing. Street vendors will sell food, fake watches, electronic gadgets and just about anything else you want as long as you don't mind a very short warranty. Eat in the open air or go to a luxury restaurant. Visit the Buddhist Temples or dive into the city's extravagant night life.
You can read a thousand books or websites but the reality of Bangkok will be the real experience. Don't just plan one day at the beginning or the end of your Holiday to visit Bangkok. Take your time and enjoy this city. We can assure you that living here is amazing, even though the heat, noise, pollution and humidity sometimes make it hard.
Bangkok according to Wikipedia
Bangkok weather radar
Bangkok Traffic (at the right bottom side you can set the map to English)
Bangkok Post, English newspaper
The Nation, English newspaper
Getting around in Bangkok
The Bangkok Mass Transit System, known as the BTS Skytrain is an elevated railway system in Bangkok. It is operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited (BTSC). There are two lines with 23 stations. The Sukhumvit line runs northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and On Nut (with 5 more stations after On Nut which are not used for some reason) and the Silom line which crosses the central business district of Bangkok, terminating at the National Stadium and Wongwian Yai.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)is Bangkok's underground metro system. The MRT line is officially known in Thai as rotfaifah mahanakhon but it is more commonly called rotfai taidin. The metro has a fleet of 19 trains and although it consists of only one line it is a very useful addition to the skytrain system if you want to move quickly through Bangkok with it's traffic congestions.
Bangkok Mass Transit Authority is the main operator of public transit buses within Greater Bangkok area. It is the largest city bus system in Thailand. BMTA offers bus and van routes throughout the city and the suburban provinces.
Chao Praya River Express operates a regular boat service up and down the river. Fares are very cheap, most trips will cost around 15 to 25 Baht. There are piers close to most riverside hotels. If you don't stay close to the river, take the skytrain to Taksin Bridge station. The River Express pier is on the river right below the station. These boats will bring you to many tourist destinations because many of them are located close to the river.
The State Railway of Thailand is the rail operator of Thailand. The network sees around 50 million passengers per year. Travelling by train is a great way to discover Thailand. Although not fast it gives you the real feeling of travelling and the chance to meet new people. Let's face it, planes are just boring.